September 17, 2022
“A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.” – Aesop (620 – 569 BCE) Greek fabulist best known for his Aesop’s Fables.
This quote comes to mind when we consider the experience of the situation of Indian medical students, who apparently could not get or afford a seat in India and made a beeline to Ukraine. Their quest for a medical degree was shattered by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Indian government rose to the occasion by organizing the emergency airlift these medical students. This action evoked widespread appreciation in India. But, the follow-up on this has generated bewilderment among student, their families and beyond. The latest developments in this matter are reflected in a recent report in The Times of India (TOI) and excerpted below.
Return to collect docus: Ukraine univs to students
The impasse for medical students who returned from Ukraine seems unending. While Indian authorities have permitted them temporary academic mobility to med schools anywhere around the world, their primary university is refusing to part with original certificates unless some conditions are met—that candidates come back toUkraine to complete formalities for collection of documents.
Several Ukrainian university deans have intimated students that unless they return books borrowed from the library and hand over hostel linen, their original documents will not be released. Most students contend that they left everything behind in their hostels while evacuating in February 2022. Universities in the western region are, in fact, asking students to return to class on the campus, stating that it is all safe there. They are refusing to even allow a transfer.
Umesh Gurjar, who counsels students keen to pursue medicine abroad, said the process of getting documents back is lengthy and may come in the way of re-admissions because most European medical schools began their academic year on September 1.
On September 5, the National Medical Commission (NMC) had permitted Indian medical students studying in Ukraine to transfer to any other university in the world. This would have come as much-needed relief to around 18,000 students whose careers have been in limbo ever since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out.
TOI had reported in March that medical schools from across the world had reached out to foreign medical aspirants who were in Ukraine as well as counsellors based in India and offered them admissions on their campuses. At no additional cost and without an entrance exam, these candidates were promised seats in medical schools. Assistance for transfer had come from institutes in Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Poland. Ukrainian universities had started online lectures, but with no end in sight to the war, students needed to move to institutes where practical sessions are held. But it seems the NMC notification has come a bit late in the day. Getting documents from institutes like the National University of Kharkiv is proving to be almost impossible.
GOI had done a commendable job in evacuating students earlier in 2022. It now says that these students have no scope for continuing their studies in Indian medical colleges. It is also not pressing the government’s diplomatic set-up in Ukraine to facilitating the release of documents from Ukraine medical colleges so that the affected students can try their luck outside Ukraine medical colleges. On both fronts – finding seats in Indian medical colleges and securing documents from Ukraine medical colleges – Government of India seems to have let down the Ukraine-returned medical students.
Here is an update from Deccan Herald (18/9/22).
The Supreme Court on Friday asked Union government to develop a web portal providing details of foreign universities allowing Ukraine-returned undergraduate medical students, affected due to attack by Russian forces.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the government should help Indian students who will now have to go to other countries…and the high commissions could help the students in all possible ways.
“Start a web portal, post details like available seats in colleges…, fees, etc., and ensure that they are not fleeced by agents, the bench said.
The court said that the government should use its resources to help students.
The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is welcome in the format given below (Pl scroll down a bit). Welcome to reason.